Barcelona In The Market For Uruguayan Defender: The Right Choice By Xavi?

Barcelona target Alfonso Espino
CADIZ, SPAIN - AUGUST 14: Alfonso Espino of Cadiz CF celebrates after scoring their side's first goal during the La Liga Santander match between Cadiz CF and Levante UD at Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla on August 14, 2021 in Cadiz, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images) The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/)

According to Fichajes, Barcelona are interested in the services of Alfonso Espino. The Catalans are apparently scouting the market for a new left-back, with the Cadiz star emerging as a potential target. Barca are already monitoring Espino’s situation at the club, with the player having a release clause worth €25 million, a fee that could drop significantly if Cadiz get relegated at the end of the season.

Who Is Alfonso Espino?

A product of the Nacional academy in his native Uruguay, Alfonso Espino moved to Europe in January 2019, joining Cadiz on a free transfer. He was brought in to add more quality in the defensive department and sure enough, he helped the club win promotion to La Liga during his second season.

During his three year spell at Cadiz, Espino has already notched up 86 competitive appearances, scoring three goals and supplying seven assists. His four assists last season were crucial in helping his team avoid the wrath of relegation and it is fair to point that the Uruguayan has seemingly emerged as one of the most exciting left-backs in the league.

Indeed, the 29-year-old has impressed the onlookers with his physical prowess and defensive work rate at left-back, which is an uncommon sight in modern football. He is also blessed with an immense pace that helps him make marauding runs into the final third, which is why the Cadiz star has become a highly sought-after prospect in the market.

Barcelona target Alfonso Espino
VILLARREAL, SPAIN – OCTOBER 26: Alfonso Espino of Cadiz is challenged by Aïssa Mandi of Villarreal during the LaLiga Santander match between Villarreal CF and Cadiz CF at Estadio de la Ceramica on October 26, 2021 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)
The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency:
Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/)
Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/)

Is He A Sensible Target For Barcelona?

Barcelona’s interest in Alfonso Espino is slightly shocking given the Uruguayan may not be the most technically gifted player around. At the age of 29, he also doesn’t offer much prospect for the future. But then again, the Catalans have signed players like Luuk de Jong and Paulinho in the recent past.

In fact, Espino may actually be a smart addition to the side, especially with Jordi Alba nearing the final phase of his career. With Junior Firpo moving to Leeds United in the summer, Barca lack a reliable alternative and that is where Espino may come in handy.

The Cadiz star is no long-term replacement for Alba. But his physical and defensive prowess, combined with his discipline, could offer variety to the table for coach Xavi Hernandez. The Uruguayan is also capable of providing thrust upfront, thus making him a useful alternative for Alba next season.

Espino is unlikely to cost a fortune either, especially if Cadiz end up getting relegated this season. In either case, he is expected to cost around €13 million, which bodes well for the financially struck Barcelona team.

Jack O’Brien

A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.